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ERIC Number: EJ816561
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-0364-0213
Space between Languages
Feist, Michele I.
Cognitive Science, v32 n7 p1177-1199 Oct 2008
What aspects of spatial relations influence speakers' choice of locative? This article presents a study of static spatial descriptions from 24 languages. The study reveals two kinds of spatial terms evident cross-linguistically: specific spatial terms and general spatial terms (GSTs). Whereas specific spatial terms--including English prepositions--occur in a limited range of situations, with concomitant specificity in their meaning, GSTs occur in all spatial descriptions (in languages that employ them). Because of the extreme differences in range of application, the two are considered separately. A multidimensional scaling analysis is used with specific spatial terms to extract statistically valid similarities across the languages sampled. For GSTs, which have not been previously analyzed in the literature, a semantic analysis is proposed and experimentally validated. The results suggest the importance of geometry, function, and qualitative physics to the meanings of both kinds of spatial terms, although the details differ. (Contains 3 figures, 3 tables, and 16 notes.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A